Biofuels from Algae:

Algae is widely touted as one of the next best sources for fueling the world’s energy needs.  But one of the greatest challenges in creating biofuels from algae is how to economically extract and isolate fuel-related chemicals from algae.  Ames Laboratory researchers are developing nanoscale “sponges” that soak up the oil produced by the algae without killing the algae, thus dramatically reducing production costs.

Ethanol from Syngas:

Ethanol production in the U.S. is expected to exceed 10 billion gallons in 2009, representing ~9 percent of the nation’s gasoline supply.  Nearly all of that fuel is produced through the fermentation of biomass, with corn a leading feedstock.  Ames Laboratory researchers are looking at ways to use more sustainable biomass like corn stover, grasses, and wood pulp to produce ethanol.  Our approach is to develop nanocatalysts that are then dispersed throughout mesoporous nanospheres.

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